Baby steps challenge update

The Pillsbury doughboy is really creepy. I always thought he was cute and cuddly (duped by advertising?), which is why I’ve kept this cookie jar 20+ years, even though I haven’t used it until now. Of course it could be my dismal photography skills (a talent that apparently isn’t genetic because my brother is a professional photographer).

I’m using this jar temporarily as a “slop bucket” for the vegetable scraps on their way to the compost bin. I haven’t had time to look for anything more practical, with a wider lid for example.

This is all to introduce the fact that even though it is the first day of September, I am not going to undertake a new baby steps challenge this month. This is partly due to the fact that I am on vacation this week, and partly because I’m still working on the past two month’s challenges.

In July, I started my own compost bin. That’s been going well, and I started a second bin because it filled up so quickly. I’m still trying to make compost without adding my own worms. Basically, composting is a done deal as far as becoming a habit. I told someone today that I could no more imagine throwing vegetable trimmings in the garbage than tossing a recyclable plastic bottle in the trash. But this horror movie Pillsbury doughboy cookie jar has GOT TO GO.

In August, the baby steps challenge was to switch to all natural household cleansers. I wrote about tackling that project here. And for a lot of reasons, I’m just getting started on that one. It’s definitely a work-in-progress that will continue this month.

So I’ve got my plate full as it is, and I know when to say “uncle.” I’m going to give myself an extra month to catch up with all of these new challenges.

How about you? What new habits are you attempting, or have you adopted lately? Please share your difficulties, questions, and insights in the Comments section.


  1. Bellen says

    For your countertop compost holder – a #10 can, a large coffee can plastic or metal. I've seen kitty litter plastic containers that should be the right size.

    I'm also working on all natural household cleansers & insect control.
    Gave up on ant control and went to a commercial product – sugar ants are a real problem here in Florida.

  2. Al says

    We use the following for kitchen scraps, coffee filters, and so on:

    Maybe they've got a second-hand one on eBay, etc.? I view it as a small price to pay for all of the good that comes of composting, plus it looks good in the kitchen.

    @Bellen: Dr. Bronner's Peppermint soap kills ants on contact and is safe/non-toxic (I've showered and shaved with it – so far, I'm still standing), but it won't prevent them from coming back. Try a little mixed with water in a spray bottle. We use it in our home for lots of cleaning jobs.

  3. Bellen says

    Al – we've done the Dr. Bronner's and it's fabulous for everything else, including brushing your teeth and washing your underwear :) Also tried cucumber peels, cinnamon, vinegar, bleach, and sealing every crack we could find. But thanks for the suggestion.

  4. WilliamB says

    Congratulations for forming the habit!

    I use plastic one quart sherbet container for my food scraps. We have, ahem, a constant supply of them; they have very wide mouths; and the food inside doesn't show.

    One thing you could do is go to Goodwill or a junk shop and see what's there. A plant pot (without hole on bottom) with a ceramic saucer (upsidedown) for lid might work for you.

  5. Alea says

    The cheapest way to go is Bellen's suggestion of a coffee can (you might be able to obtain one from a neighbor). Since it is not as cute as the dough boy, it could be stored under your kitchen sink.

    Another option would be to pick up a flour canister (preferably one that has an air tight seal) at a thrift store.

    I use a counter top compost crock. I like that it is large enough to hold several days worth of compost (especially nice during bad weather) and has a carbon filter which keeps the odor down. Mine was a gift from my s-i-l, but a friend found one on Craig's list.

  6. tammy says

    I use an empty glass mayo jar. It works great and I take it out once a day and bury in the veggie garden. I'm sure that is not "composting" in the pure sense of the word, but this is how I manage veggie scraps and such!
    I love your photo of the Pillsbury Dough Boy. You really captured his dark, creepy side….boooooooo!

  7. JanKnitz says

    Yuck–the doughboy looks like it has all sorts of nooks and crannies to clean inside!

    Our city's waste management (garbage) company sells countertop compost pails for $1.79. It's plastic, straight sides for easy cleaning, and fits on the counter. We use BioBags (–whole foods carries them) just to make it even easier to clean–otherwise stinky stuff still gets stuck in the bottom of the pail.

    We aren't much for gardening, but our city allows compostable material in the yard waste collection can–they compost it for us. It's so easy we have NO excuse not to do it anymore ;o)

  8. saymoi says

    Marshall's has metal flour canisters for about $6.99. I have a stainless steal compost bin bought a long time ago and only recently started lining it with the plastic veggie bags you get at the grocery store (baby step for me to stop using accumulating those) and just dump the contents when full into the heap and throw out the plastic bag, sorry. Any Trader Joe's coffee can is good too. The .99 Store may have something good, although I hate buying all that plastic stuff from China.

  9. Leigh @ compactbydesign says

    Angela, hope you are enjoying the east coast. You chose a great week to be gone, the air is horrible in Pasadena right now. I'm sure you've seen the fires on TV.

    As for the compost, we don't do it (yet). But I'm loving the ideas for cheap/reclycled compost bins. And as for them not being as "attractive" as the dough boy I'll say this – just pick what you want and I'll do a post on how to spruce it up for the countertop!!!

  10. Gail Tester says

    I tried different things for my compost and then remembered a pretty ice bucket I had with a stainless steel lining. Works great. I don't use bags in it because I felt like I was defeating the purpose of composting when I was throwing out a bag every day (too dirty to recycle). I just rinse it with hot water, wha laa. Thrift stores often have ice buckets.

  11. Angela says

    Thanks so much for all your ideas! I really appreciate them. JanKnitz- yes! The doughboy has too many nooks and crannies to wash, on top of the opening being too narrow. It's not a good container for this usage…

Leave a Reply to Gail Tester Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *